Since his drafting in the fourth round of 2013, Bakhtiari has been a staple at left tackle.
The position made famous because of the elite pass rusher, Laurence Taylor, left tackle was said to be protecting the Quarterback’s “blind side” (as most QBs are right-handed passers).
It is one of the most important (and highly paid) positions on the field, and for good reason.
The Packers have seen first hand what a depleted or mediocre left tackle can do for a passing attack. When Marshall Newhouse was fill-in at the position, a revolving door was opened for any rusher that lined up on the left side.
It was such a drop-off in protection that Mike McCarthy flipped his offensive line in the offseason to put Bryan Bulaga at Rodgers’ blind side. It would have worked, too, if it weren’t for those pesky kids … oh, wait – wrong show. It would have worked too, if it weren’t for that pesky injury bug hitting the Packers hard and often in 2013.
Bulaga was lost for the season at family night.
Since being held to the fire that first rookie year, Bakhtiari has flourished. He has the size and strength to match up with any guy on the outside – and he holds his own.
My main gripe with Bakhtiari are the penalties.
He has been penalized more than any other offensive lineman – and it always seems to negate a huge gain.
The issue is with his first step off the line of scrimmage. He has a problem with being overly antsy (especially across from a talented pass rush) and needing a quick first step, often coming early.
When he isn’t moving early, he is just a step too late at times. Quick edge rushers will get the fast track immediately and Bakhtiari is forced to hold.
Offensive holding has killed many drives for the Packers.
It was clear how important Bakhtiari is to the Packers when he was lost to injury for a few games at the end of 2015.
His replacements: Don Barclay and even Josh Sitton, proved that his relevance to the team is completely understated. Rodgers trusts Bakhtiari and it shows in Aaron’s confidence in the pocket when someone else is in his place.